“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” hasn’t established itself online, based on October 2014 polling by YouGov. The study looked at the growing issue of “internet trolls”—defined as people who sow discord on the internet in the form of comments, starting arguments or upsetting people, off-topic messages or deliberately provoking readers into an emotional response—and found that nearly three in 10 US web users had posted something malicious online toward people they didn’t know.
Nearly one-fifth of respondents claimed to have been trolling victims, and an additional 15% weren’t sure if they had been—possibly due to low awareness of trolls in general. But are victims doing anything in response? YouGov found that those who had experienced this type of online harassment simply ignored the behavior. For those who did fight back, responding to the trolling comment in defense of themselves or with an argument against the comment were the top actions, cited by 50% and 47%, respectively.
Victims were least likely to stop visiting websites haunted by trolls in response to the harassment, but as troll awareness increases and internet users get sick of being attacked for what they post online, this may change. Read the rest at eMarketer.